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Pokémon Sword and Shield for dummies: All you need to know

What type of weaponry are Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield?

Many gamers around the world take their love for Pokémon quite seriously, after all, many 90s kids grew up watching the anime series and wanting to ‘catch ‘em all’. But what of those who had no clue about the cultural phenomena? What are Sword and Shield? Weapons?

A brief history

Created in 1995 by Satoshi Tajiri, the Pokémon franchise has grown to a huge empire, compared to what it started as.

The franchise is now managed by The Pokémon Company, Nintendo, and Game Freak. The franchise started as Pokémon Red and Green (later released as Pokémon Red and Blue) as video games for the original Game Boy developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo in 1996. Soon, it became a media-mix franchise adapted into many different variations.

The franchise has been successful worldwide and also has some top-selling games under its belt.

Enter Sword and Shield

Gameplay

The latest addition to the Pokémon video games, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, are both very popular among fans and currently rank as the fifth bestselling game on Nintendo Switch. They were released in November 2019.

Although the initial response of the fans wasn’t great due to the exclusion of some classic Pokémon from the game, it got mostly positive reviews from critics for its new features, creature design, simplicity, freedom given to the players, and streamlined encounters. Additionally, the games recently got two downloadable content expansion packs through an expansion pass, with ‘The Isle of Armor’ and ‘The Crown Tundra’.

Till September 2020, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield have sold more than 19 million copies all over the world, making them the fastest-selling games on the Nintendo Switch.

What happens in the games?

Gameplay

The games Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield narrate the journey of a young Pokémon trainer who aims to become the Pokémon Champion.

Both are essentially standalone role-playing video games developed by Game Freak, published by The Pokémon Company and Nintendo (for Nintendo Switch).

Prior knowledge of Pokémon isn’t necessary as with all previous games.

Set in the new Galar region, based on the United Kingdom, the main objective of the games is to overthrow the Pokémon League Champion, Leon, in a tournament that many other Gym Leaders and rivals also participate in, all the while dealing with Team Yell and an evil conspiracy within the League.

In essence, both the games are RPGs based on the Pokémon franchise. Proper introductions are given throughout the game to each aspect of the mechanics and the world in general.

Battle

New features in Pokémon Sword and Shield

Many new features have been introduced in these games, such as the co-operative raid encounters, similar to what we saw in Pokémon Go; the Wild Area, which is a completely explorable open-world area with dynamic weather and free camera movement, which has an impact on the particular Pokémon species that appear in the game at a given time. The new ‘Camp’ mode allows the player to interact and play with their Pokémon and cook curry of different types to provide bonuses for Pokémon.

Other features like ‘Dynamaxing’ and ‘Gigantamaxing’ allow the Pokémon to grow larger temporarily. Gigantamaxing is allowed on certain Pokémon and feature forms that are different from the regular appearance of the Pokémon.

A new feature called ‘Poke Jobs’ gives the player’s Pokémon tasks for completing requests, like assisting in cooking or construction, to gain experience or to get rare items.

Battle

Both games have differences

Like each other game pair before this one, these two also have many differences between them.

For example, some gyms (where you battle for getting badges, sort of like qualifications and also in-game checkpoints) and some Pokémon species are exclusive to Shield while some are exclusive to Sword. Players have to enter into trades with other players to receive Pokémon from the other game and therefore successfully “catch ‘em all” and fill their entire Pokédex (database of all Pokémon that gets filled as and when you catch a Pokémon).

By Santiago Vargas

Santiago is a humble gamer from Peru who brings in the much needed breathing space amid all the hardware talk here at Spearblade. We liked his blog so much that we had to onboard him. You'll find Santiago publishing game-related articles, sometimes with a focus on hardware, as that's the bread and butter of Spearblade.